The Sioux tribe at Standing Rock may have halted the Dakota Access Pipeline for now, but they could face an even larger mountain under President Donald Trump. Not only might Trump restart the pipeline's construction, but his advisors tell Reuters he may try to privatize millions of acres of tribal lands to unlock some 1.5 trillion dollars in oil, gas, and coal.
Energy correspondent Valerie Vochevicci has the exclusive.>> Although only 2% of US land is made up of Indian reservations, 20% of US oil and gas reserves and also coal reserves sit underneath tribal land. How they decide to manage these lands and decide about the ownership of these lands will be very important for how these resources are developed.
>> Before last month's election, Trump had already formed a Native American coalition, chaired by Oklahoma congressman and Cherokee tribe member Mark Wayne Mullin. His goal, privatize some of the 56 million acres of native lands.>> He feels that Native Americans don't have much control over the resources that are beneath their feet.
And by finding ways to privatize some of that land, will help cut through some of the red tape that exists to try to get these energy resources and other business enterprises approved and up and running.>> That might help some tribes facing rampant poverty, but others, like the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota, fear an ecological nightmare.
Critics also worry about the impact on tribes.>> What we saw historically is efforts to try to privatize land has led to a loss of identity, it has led to in some cases a termination of tribes. So that's something that nobody wants to repeat. And that's why this is such a controversial idea.
>> Which means Standing Rock may be just the start of a much longer standoff.